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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Thursday - May 27, 2010

From: Lake Winnebago, MO
Region: Midwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Pollination of blackberries in Lake Winnebago, MO
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Not sure if blackberries are native, but my daughter got a start of one at a plant exchange at the nature center. Do we need more than one for it to pollinate correctly? We have strawberries growing in the backyard also, if that makes a difference. Thanks so much for your help.

ANSWER:

There are 31 members of the genus Rubus, blackberry, native to North America and 5 native to Missouri. We don't have any way of knowing which of these you have, but since they are all the same genus, the information we can find should be correct for all of them. The blackberries native to Missouri are:

Rubus allegheniensis (Allegheny blackberry)

Rubus alumnus (oldfield blackberry)

Rubus allegheniensis var. allegheniensis (Allegheny blackberry)

Rubus argutus (sawtooth blackberry)

Rubus recurvans (recurved blackberry)

We assume you are asking us if there are male and female bushes, as there are in the holly family and some other berry-producing shrubs. The answer to that is no, members of the Rubus genus are monoecious, meaning they have both male and female flowers on each bush. You can follow the above links to the webpage on each species of blackberry for more information, and go to the Google link at the bottom of that webpage for articles and pictures from the Internet. 

 

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